Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love After Auschwitz

Livia Bitton-Jackson, Author, Livia Bitton Jackson, Author
Livia Bitton-Jackson, Author, Livia Bitton Jackson, Author Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $17 (272p) ISBN 978-0-689-82026-7
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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Bitton-Jackson continues the memoir begun so searchingly in I Have Lived a Thousand Years. Now 14 and a survivor of Auschwitz, she returns with her mother and older brother to their once-Hungarian town in what has become Czechoslovakia. There they learn of her father's death; they find their house plundered, friendly-seeming neighbors reluctant to return their possessions and the local school, once a haven to Elli (as she is called here) completely re-staffed by the Communists. Readers will be awed at the bewildering maze of decisions facing Elli and her family. Should she apply for a visa to the U.S. or travel illegally to Palestine, as she, a member of an underground organization, is helping other Jews to do? When Elli and her brother get American visas, the family decides that her brother will go alone and try to expedite a visa for their mother. But years pass before they are reunited, and as the Americans close their embassy in Czechoslovakia, Elli dreams up and executes a breathtakingly daring escape for herself and her mother. It seems never to have occurred to Elli not to be brave; only once or twice does she express her agony at what she has witnessed in Auschwitz, and she resolutely works to make life better for those around her as well as her family. Bitton-Jackson's prose is not as fresh as in her previous book, and in some ways she is less personal, observing more and revealing herself less directly. But her story is utterly involving, and adds an important chapter to the ongoing attempt to understand the Holocaust and its consequences. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
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